Ashfield schools in ‘Dragon’s Den’ project

Notts Police.

Notts Police.

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An Ashfield school team has been told that some elements of its entry to a Dragons’ Den-style project could “go national”.

For the nationally-recognised competition, Ashfield Community Safety Partnership invited Year 10 students at each of the district’s secondary schools to produce an awareness-raising campaign aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle and challenging the social acceptability of alcohol.

Three schools – Holgate Academy, Quarrydale Academy and Sutton Community Academy - took part in the competitive element of Dragons’ Den-style competition which came to a conclusion on Friday (March 13) when each team gave a presentation about its campaign.

The Holgate Academy entry included putting messages on the sleeves around paper coffee cups, development of a smartphone app and use of “Your health in your hands” as a campaign strapline. At the final of the competition, which was hosted by Sutton Community Academy, they were picked as the winner of the competition and also took the award for innovation.

The judging panel was made up of Chief Superintendent Ak Khan; Peter Moyes, Chief Executive Officer at Life Skills Education CIC; Alan Simpson, ‎Project Officer at Community Alcohol Partnerships; Eden Hayes, student representative; and Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping.

It was chaired by Nicky Weston. For the first time this year young people attending the final were invited to vote for a student prize winner; this went to Quarrydale Academy. As part of their work the Quarrydale team had surveyed 180 Year 10 pupils about if, where and why they drink alcohol and created posters using their Drink Smart, Drink Safe strapline.

DD is organised by a planning group led by Nottinghamshire County Council Community Safety Officer Leah Sareen and including representatives from Ashfield’s schools, the Police and the Community Safety Partnership.

A wide range of methods of raising awareness about healthy lifestyles and alcohol had been researched and developed by the teenagers, including an interactive drama written and produced by Sutton Community Academy and with a hot seat session at the end, websites, leaflets, product label wraps and thought-provoking videos.

The judges and the competition organisers praised all of the campaigns and it is expected that in future elements from them will be used by those organising and delivering work with young people relating to alcohol.

As the prizes were presented, panel member Mr Simpson told The Holgate Academy team: “When looking at the ideas I asked myself could these transfer out?, and in terms of the coffee cup wraps I think they could well go national.” MrsWeston told the teams: “You are all positive role models, I come away really inspired.”

This is the sixth year that the Dragons’ Den-style project has been run in Ashfield, It was named runner-up in the National Crimebeat Awards this week and has attracted national attention for its success as a method of teaching young people about safety.